If there’s one supplement that has truly passed the test of time, it’s creatine monohydrate.
It has been the subject of hundreds of scientific studies, and the evidence is clear:
- It helps you gain muscle and strength faster.
- It improves anaerobic endurance.
- It enhances muscle recovery.
And moreover, it does it all naturally and safely.
When it comes to improving your body composition and workout performance, creatine monohydrate is basically all pros and no cons.
And in this podcast, we’re going to talk about why.
By the end, you’re going to know what creatine monohydrate is, how it works, how effective it is, how to take it for best results, and more.
Let’s get to it.
2:45 – What is creatine monohydrate?
6:20 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit muscle growth?
8:49 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit strength gain?
10:27 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit power?
12:14 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit muscle recovery?
13:04 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit endurance?
14:24 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit joint pain?
15:41 – How does creatine monohydrate benefit type 2 diabetes?
18:28 – What is creatine ethyl ester and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
19:32 – What is buffered creatine and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
20:50 – What is creatine hydrochloride and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
21:19 – What is creatine magnesium chelate and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
21:57 – What is creatine malate chelate and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
22:29 – What is creatine nitrate and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
23:10 – What is micronized creatine and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
24:17 – What is creatine pyruvate and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
24:52 – What is creatine citrate and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
25:13 – What is liquid creatine and is it better than creatine monohydrate?
26:42 – How do you take creatine monohydrate?
28:37 – Does caffeine interfere with the effects of creatine monohydrate?
30:02 – Do you need to take creatine monohydrate every day?
30:59 – Do you need to cycle creatine monohydrate?
31:44 – Does creatine monohydrate cause bloating?
32:43 – Is creatine monohydrate bad for your kidneys?
34:28 – Should women take creatine monohydrate?
35:13 – Should you take creatine monohydrate when you want to lose weight?
35:39 – Does creatine monohydrate cause baldness?
39:36 – Does everyone benefit equally from creatine monohydrate?
Mentioned on The Show:
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I’m Mike, and we’re here to talk about ine mono hydrate because if there is one supplement that has truly passed the test of time, it is creatine mono hydrate. This supplement has been the subject of hundreds and hundreds of scientific studies over the decades now. And the weight of the evidence is clear.
It helps you gain muscle and strength faster. It improves anaerobic endurance. It enhances muscle recovery, and it does it naturally, of course, and safely. So when it comes to improving your body composition and your workout performance, the bottom line is creatine. Monohydrate is basically all pros and no cons.
And in this podcast we’re gonna talk about why. We’re gonna talk about what it is, how it works in the body, how effective it is, how to take it properly for the best possible results and more. So let’s start at the top with what is creatine Monohydrate? Well, creatine is simply a natural compound that’s made up of the amino acids.
L-arginine, glycine, and methionine. Now, creatine. Monohydrate is simply creatine with one molecule of water attached to it. Hence the hydrate. Our bodies can produce creatine naturally, but they can also absorb and store the creatine found in various foods like meat, eggs, and fish, and in supplements of course, as well.
Now, how does creatine monohydrate work? What actually happens in the body when you take it? Well, the most basic. Unit of cellular energy in the body is a molecule called adenosine triphosphate. A TP is how it’s often referred to. Now, for a cell to use a t p, it must first break it down into several smaller molecules, and this process produces byproducts that are then recycled back into ATTP to be used again, including one.
Of particular interest here, adenosine diphosphate, A D P. Now the more a TP your cells can store and the faster they can regenerate it after use, the more work your cells can do. And this is true of every bodily system, including your muscle cells. Creatine is an essential ingredient in the process of regenerating a T P, which is why supplementing with it increases the amount of work.
That your muscles can do? How does that work? Well, creatine accelerates that regeneration process that I mentioned by donating a molecule of a substance that allows your body to rapidly convert a d P into a tp, and that then significantly increases your muscles functional capacity. Now this system of energy generation has a downside though, and that is that the body’s natural creatine stores are very limited.
And once they’ve been depleted, the show is over. And at that point, the body has to turn to glucose or fatty acids to be able to continually produce more a t p. When you take a creatine supplement, though, your body’s total creatine stores rise. A lot research shows that the average increase is about 10 to 20% in your muscles alone, and that then provides your muscle cells with much higher levels of very readily available energy, which then of course, unsurprisingly improves their aerobics.
So without oxygen capacity, improves strength and power, and it also improves resistance to fatigue. But creatine’s muscle related benefits don’t stop there either. There’s more. Creatine is mostly popular with athletes and weightlifters because its biggest benefits relate to physical activities that involve short, powerful bursts of effort.
One of the unique properties of this molecule though, is that it can also significantly benefit higher rep training by increasing the number of reps that you can. Complete before reaching complete absolute muscular failure where you just can’t get another rep, and there’s even some evidence that creatine can improve endurance performance as well.
It also has a few unique health benefits that have nothing to do with. Looking pretty, and we’ll talk about those too. So let’s first dive into muscle growth. Let’s talk about how creatine, monohydrate benefits muscle growth. There are two ways that it does this. One, it allows you to lift heavier weights for more reps, allows you do more work in the gym.
Which of course then produces a stronger stimulus for muscle growth. And two, creatine monohydrate also increases the water content of the muscle cells, which positively influences muscle growth in a few different ways. Now, evidence for that first. Point of doing more work in the gym can be found in a number of studies.
But one good example is a study that was published in 2001 by researchers from Skidmore College, and in this study they split up 30 people into three groups. The first group contained 10 people who took creatine, only the second group 10 who took a placebo. And lifted weights. And then the third group, 10 who took creatine and lifted weights.
The first two groups had no significant increase in lean mass, which is no surprise. Creatine is not like steroids. But the group that took creatine and lifted weights gained almost four pounds of lean mass in one month. Now, some people would say that this extra quote unquote lean mass was nothing but increased water retention because the group of people who lifted weights didn’t appear to gain any lean mass whatsoever.
And so it’s a bit hard to believe that creatine alone would add four pounds of lean muscle tissue. And this is a, a fair point. It’s not entirely off base, but it brings me to the second point that I made earlier, which is increasing the water content of muscle cells is good for muscle growth. And the reason why is this is actually.
The primary way that creatine increases muscle growth because when the water content in muscle cells increases, it makes muscles bigger, of course, but it also positively impacts nitrogen balance and the expression of certain genes that are related to hypertrophy to. Muscle growth. So creatine produces a more anabolic environment in the muscles.
You could think of it that way. Other research suggests that creatine also has anti catabolic effects, meaning that it helps reduce muscle breakdown rates, which then of course further helps with long-term muscle gain. So the bottom line here is even when you account for the increased water retention, people supplementing with creatine will generally gain muscle, lean muscle tissue faster.
Then those who don’t. Now let’s talk about creatine, monohydrate, and strength gain. So in 2003, scientists from Bloomsburg University analyzed 22 of the highest quality studies on creatine just to see how effective it really is. And they looked at how much weight people were able to lift for one, three, and 10 reps while following a strength training plan for.
Several weeks, and on average, people who took creatine were able to lift 20% more weight across all rep ranges analyzed. Whereas people who took a placebo only improved their lifts by about 12%. So creatine then improved people’s performance by about 8%, and that’s 8%. In an absolute sense, it’s almost double.
It’s almost a hundred percent. It’s about 80%. Improvement if we’re talking about relative increase, and that was over the course of several weeks as well, no longer than 10, maybe 12 weeks. These weren’t very long studies. They didn’t follow people around for six or 12 months. Another interesting little point is creatinine was particularly helpful for increasing bench press.
One rep max with increases ranging from. 3% on the very low end to 45% on the very high end. And so here’s what the researchers concluded, quote. Thus, there is substantial evidence to indicate that creatine supplementation during resistance training is more effective at increasing muscle strength and weight weightlifting performance than resistance training alone, although the response is highly variable.
So the bottom line here is if you want to get strong as fast as possible, then you want to take creatine. Now, what about creatine, monohydrate, and power? So what’s power? Let’s define that quickly. So power refers to how quickly you can move a certain amount of weight, whereas strength is just the absolute amount of weight you can move regardless of how quickly you can move it.
Now, power isn’t all that. Important or meaningful if you just wanna get big and strong. But it is very important in many sports, the more powerful and explosive many athletes are, the better they are going to do in their respective sports. Now as far as creatine goes, thanks to its ability to fuel rapid muscle contractions, studies show that it does indeed increase power output.
This has been shown in sprinters, swimmers, wrestlers, and. Weightlifters. And it’s also possible that creatine may directly improve power output through some other mechanisms that aren’t quite understood yet. As, for example, one study that found that a single large dose of creatine improved neuromuscular function and increased power output within 24 hours, which is before it would’ve had time to really accumulate in muscle tissue.
So it’s an interesting observation that I’m sure will be explored further in the future. And it’s also worth noting that if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, or if you just don’t eat very much meat or animal protein, especially lean meats, then you are likely to notice the biggest benefits in terms of.
Power output. Plant-based diets tend to be very low in creatine because the best food sources of creatine are meat, poultry, and fish. So it’s no surprise then that plant-based eaters can benefit greatly from creatine supplementation and that they see the, or tend to see the largest increases in power output.
Now, what about muscle recovery? Creatine monohydrate and muscle recovery. Well, unfortunately, there isn’t much research on how creatine affects recovery, but it does appear to enhance it. For example, one study on long distance runners found that creatine supplementation reduced markers of muscle damage and inflammation after an 18 mile race.
Of course, that’s a key aspect of recovering. Is repairing the muscle damage and reducing the inflammation. There’s also other research that shows that creatine can reduce glycogen and muscle protein breakdown during a period of hard training, and that will then speed up recovery because there will be less recovery that’s needed before the next bout of training.
And that’s really it for, for muscle recovery. Again, not much research out there on it, but it does appear to benefit recovery. Okay, let’s talk about muscle endurance, creatine, monohydrate, and muscle endurance. Now, many people think of creatine as a supplement only for increasing strength and power.
Muscularity, but it is also proven to increase muscle endurance. So a good example of this is the same group of researchers from Bloomsburg University that I mentioned earlier, conducted a study and found that creatine increase the amount of reps people could do with their one rep max by about 26% compared to just.
12% for a placebo, and once again, creatine was particularly helpful for increasing bench press performance with increases of 16 to 43%. Creatine supplementation also seems to reduce fatigue in endurance exercise too. Scientists from the University of Nicosia and the University of Oklahoma found. That creatine supplementation significantly reduced perceived effort.
So how hard exercise feels during an intense cycling workout in one of these studies, though only people who had relatively low levels of muscle creatine before supplementing experienced these benefits. So it is possible that those of us, starting with normal. Levels of intramuscular, creatine may not notice a reduction in perceived effort.
Alright, let’s talk about joints, because creatine monohydrate has effects on arthritis and joint pain. And this is important because while strengthening your muscles is actually one of the better ways to reduce joint pain, many people don’t know that, and it sounds counterintuitive, but it is according to a study conducted by scientists.
From the University of Sao Paolo, creatine can help here as well. So what these researchers did is they had one group of women take creatine and another take a placebo while doing 12 weeks of lower leg strengthening exercises. And then at the end of the study, what they found is the. Results in the creatine group far surpassed the placebo group.
So the women who took creatine showed a 52% reduction in knee stiffness and a 45% reduction in pain, as well as a 41% improvement in overall joint function, whereas the placebo. Produced, uh, a moderate reduction in pain and no significant reduction in knee stiffness and no significant improvement in joint function, and the scientists weren’t exactly sure why creatine worked so well, but it’s possible that the benefits were simply due to making the workouts more.
Productive. Alright, let’s move on to the next benefit of creatine monohydrate, which is relatively unknown and that has to do with type two diabetes. Now it’s well established that strength training is one of the best ways to reduce and stave off type two diabetes symptoms. And scientists wondered if creatine could amplify.
These benefits. And so researchers again from the University of Sao Pao looked into this and published a paper on it in 2011. And in this study they gave one group of diabetics creatine and another group of diabetics at placebo, and then put everyone through the same 12 week strength training program.
And by the. And the creatine group saw a significantly larger drop in their hba one C levels, which is a marker of the average blood glucose levels over the past three months. And these people also experienced a small rise in blood glucose levels after a meal, which is a sign of better insulin sensitivity, as well as.
Other biological markers of better metabolic health. So that’s a rather long list of impressive benefits for one measly, relatively inexpensive supplement.
We’ve been talking about creatine, monohydrates specifically, and so I’m sure you’ve wondered how does that stack up to the other forms of creatine that are on the market? It because while Monohydrate is the simplest and the least expensive form, and while it has been around for decades, it really is the tried and true winner.
There are many challengers to its throne. Over the years, manufacturers, supplement manufacturers and marketers, they have modified creatine in various ways to try to make it more effective, at least more interesting to, to try to add some sizzle, but. What’s the story? How have the experiments on these other forms gone and is there anything out there that has been able to trump creatine monohydrate?
Well, let’s take a quick look at the research on the most popular creations. Let’s start with creatine, ethyl ester. Versus creatine monohydrate. So creatine, ethyl Lester, or Cee, as it’s often referred to, is a form of creatine monohydrate that has undergone a process called esterification, which basically just involves introducing an acid and an alcohol.
Now, CCE was developed in the hopes that it would increase the absorption and bioavailability of the creatine, but research shows that it is a. In one study, a direct comparison between CEE and Creatine, monohydrate showed that CCE can’t even duplicate, let alone surpass the results seen with creatine monohydrate supplementation.
So CEE is basically worthless, and the reason for it is, Research shows that it is less stable than creatine monohydrate, and this then results in a rapid conversion into a substance called creatinine, which has no beneficial effects in the body. So that’s what happens to CE when you take it, but does not happen nearly as much with creatine monohydrate.
Alright, now let’s talk about buffered creatine versus creatine monohydrate. So buffered creatine is just creatine monohydrate combined with magnesium or baking soda. To raise its pH value. And in case you’re not familiar with pH in chemistry, pH is just a measure of the acidity of a solution. So a pH of less than seven is said to be acidic while a pH greater than seven is basic or alkaline.
And the more acidic a substances, the more it can react with other substances and cause chemical changes. And so the idea behind buffered creatine is that by raising its pH. You might be able to protect it against the stomach’s powerful acids, and thereby increase its absorption into the bloodstream intact.
Unfortunately though, studies show that buffered creatine simply is not any better than creatine monohydrate because stomach acid is just too strong to be negated by any buffering agent that has been used. At least anything that could be safely eaten, it just isn’t powerful enough. The good news though, is creatine is naturally.
Resistant to stomach acid. In fact, studies show that 80 to a hundred percent of the creatine that you ingest as creatine monohydrate will make it through your stomach unchanged. So it doesn’t need the help of a chemical buffer. Alright, let’s move on to creatine hydrochloride. Versus creatine monohydrate.
So creatine hydrochloride is just creatine bound with hydrochloric acid, and as usual, the goal here was to try to increase the absorption and thus the efficacy of the creatine. But it didn’t quite pan out. It did succeed in improving the powder’s water. Solubility. So it mixes really well, but it hasn’t been shown to enhance uptake or performance benefits at all.
Alright, next up is creatine. Magnesium chelate versus creatine monohydrate. Now creatine, magnesium chelate is a form of creatine, bound to magnesium. That’s all it really is. And as magnesium. Plays a role in creatine metabolism. The idea was that by combining the two, maybe you could improve the overall effectiveness of the supplement.
And there isn’t much research on this yet, but one study did find that Creatin magnesium chelate is no more effective than Creatin monohydrate. Big surprise. I guess we’ll have to see how it pans out in further research, but for now I wouldn’t shell out the extra cash myself for it. Alright, the next one is creatine malate.
This is just creatine bound with malic acid. And the reason for this one is some research shows that malic acid can increase energy production in cells. And the thinking is that that could then maybe work synergistically with the creatine to further increase performance. And the jury’s still out on this one because no studies have been conducted yet that directly compare it to creatine monohydrate.
So I guess we’ll see what, I don’t know if that research will relevant be done, honestly, but, uh, we just don’t know. Right now, next up is creatine nitrate. How does that compare to creatine monohydrate? Now, creatine nitrate is a form of creatine that’s bound with chemicals called nitrates, and these are abundant in certain types of foods like beets and spinach and research that unfortunately is.
No longer available online indicated that creatine nitrate may be more water soluble than creatine monohydrate, similar to creatine hydrochloride, and we do know that nitrates can improve performance, but no studies have been done yet that directly compare creatine nitrate to monohydrate. So I guess we’ll just have to see where it goes if that research gets done and what the outcome is.
Now let’s talk about micronized creatine. You will find this in many creatine supplements, and all it is is it’s creatine that has been processed to reduce the particle size of the powder, and most of the micronized creatine that’s out there is just creatine monohydrate. And while micronization does help it better dissolve in water, it does not increase absorption or effectiveness.
So if you just don’t like how creatine monohydrate doesn’t play too well with water, or if it upsets your stomach, then micronize, creatine. Is a good option. I would take that over some of the other fancier options that can mix better with water because they’re just gonna be more expensive. Whereas micronized creatine is gonna be your least expensive option for something that mixes well, that has really good water solubility.
And if you’re wondering why it doesn’t increase absorption or effectiveness, well your body. Already micronize the creatine during the digestion process by breaking it down into smaller particles. So pre micronizing, it doesn’t achieve anything special beyond making it easier to drink and making it slightly easier on your stomach.
Okay, the next form to discuss is creatinine perv eight. How does that compare to creatine monohydrate? Well, creatine, Peru eight is creatine bound with peric. Acid and research shows that it may produce higher plasma levels of creatine than creatine monohydrate, but this does not translate into greater muscle absorption or performance enhancement.
Remember, your body already can absorb a very large percentage of the creatine provided by creatine monohydrate, so slightly improving. This does not have any significant effect. Next up, creatine citrate. How does that compare? Well, This is simply creatine, bound to citric acid, and it’s more of the same.
It appears to be more water soluble, so it mixes better with water and it’s easier on your stomach at least a little bit, but no better in terms of. Bottom line results. Alright, the final form that we need to talk about is liquid creatine. How does that compare to creatine monohydrate? Now, what is liquid creatine?
Well, it is simply a form of creatine. It’s actually usually creatine monohydrate that’s just suspended in water. And this was really a marketing gimmick from the. Get go. There was no proposed mechanism for how this would make creatine more effective. It would just make it more interesting. It would add a bit of sizzle for marketing, and unfortunately, studies show that it’s actually far less effective than creatine monohydrate.
You see, the problem is when creatine is mixed with liquid, it begins to break down into a substance that I mentioned. Earlier creatinine, which delivers none of the benefits of creatine. So what happens is by the time a liquid creatine product gets into your hands, it’s not really a creatine supplement anymore, but a creatinine supplement.
And for those of you wondering how quickly this occurs, Maybe concerned that you’ve been doing it wrong because you’ve been mixing your creatine and then taking five minutes to drink it. Don’t worry about it, because it takes several weeks for the creatine to break down into creatinine after being mixed with water.
So mixing it with your shake after a workout and drinking it, of course is no problem. Or even mixing it into a shake a few hours before a workout is totally fine, but a few weeks, that would kill the effectiveness of the supplement. Alright, that’s it for all the different forms. Of creatine on the market and how they compare it to creatine monohydrate.
Let’s now talk about how to take creatine monohydrate, which of course is the form that I recommend for all the reasons we just discussed. And as far as dosing goes, it’s very simple. Research shows that supplementing with five grams of creatine monohydrate per day is optimal. And when you first start taking it, You can load it by taking about 20 grams, 15 to 20 grams per day for the first five to seven days, and you will see benefits a little bit sooner, but that is the only benefit of loading.
It’ll just accumulate in your body faster, but you also are gonna have to spend a bit more money. On the supplement and it can upset some people’s stomachs when they start taking that much creatine every day. So you can also just take five grams a day and you might not see benefits as quickly. It might take three or four weeks to really start seeing benefits in the gym versus maybe two weeks if you load.
But that’s just up you now, I also recommend that you take your creatine monohydrate. With your post-workout meals, and there are two reasons for that. One, research shows that taking creatine with a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrate increases muscle absorption. And two, studies show that taking creatine after a workout is slightly more effective for increasing strength and muscle gain over time than taking it before.
And so creatine is really the. Perfect supplement to take after a workout with a meal. Alright, now let’s address some common questions about creatine, monohydrate. Things that people have asked me many times over the years, and I understand why there are many myths and misconceptions about this stuff.
For example, some people say that you must never take it with caffeine. Others say that it causes hair loss and bloating and. Even kidney damage. You may have heard that creatine simply doesn’t work for some people and that its benefits are generally exaggerated. What’s the story behind these claims and others?
Let’s find out. Let’s start with caffeine. Does caffeine interfere? With the effects of creatine monohydrate, and this depends on what kind of training you are doing, because it’s well established that caffeine increases performance. So taking it with creatine should have an additive effect. That’s not always the case, though, as sometimes these two molecules don’t play nicely together.
For example, one study found that taking caffeine with creatine before lifting weights, interfered with creatine absorption, and negated. Its benefits. We should note though, in this case that the study included just nine subjects and the results have not been replicated by other research, so I don’t think we should draw any definitive conclusions from that.
And we also have two other studies on high intensity interval training that found that taking caffeine and creatine together improved performance over and above what you’d expect from caffeine alone. Now, this may have been due to the neurological enhancement that I mentioned earlier, or. Some other mechanism not yet.
Understood. So really at this point, we just aren’t quite sure yet what to expect when you take creatine with caffeine before a workout. So if you wanna play it safe, take your caffeine and your creatine separately, which of course is a moot point for most of us who take caffeine before our workouts, so at least some of them, and then creatine after, which is what you should be doing.
To get the most benefit from both of those supplements. Do you need to take creatine monohydrate every day? That’s a question that I’ve been asked many times, and the answer is no, actually. Cuz it takes about a week for creatine to accumulate in your muscles once you start supplementing with it. And once it has, it takes some time.
To return to normal levels once you stop supplementing with it, and as a single workout doesn’t use up that much creatine. Once your muscles are topped off through supplementation, you can go several days or even weeks before your intramuscular, creatine levels return to baseline. Now, of course, that depends on your training in your diet, but that’s gonna be generally true for for most people in the gym.
That said, the simplest way to ensure that you get the most out of your creatine supplementation. Is just taking five grams per day because that ensures that your body’s creatine stores always remain elevated. It’s nice to know, though, that if you miss a day or two for whatever reason, it’s not a problem.
You’re not starting over from scratch. Do you need to cycle creatine, monohydrate? No. You do not need to cycle it because when you supplement with creatine, while it’s true that your body does reduce its natural production, creatine is not steroids. It sounds ominous and. Everybody knows that steroids can shut down and even permanently damage your body’s natural testosterone production.
But creatine doesn’t work like that. Ironically, producing creatine is a pretty demanding process and reducing this burden may even be helpful. There are theories that would suggest that is the case, and regardless when you cease. Supplementing with creatine. Research shows that your body just resumes.
Its normal production. There’s no fallout, so to speak. Next question is, does creatine monohydrate cause bloating? No, it does not. That used to be an issue many years ago with creatinine monohydrate, but since then, processing has improved and the problem really has faded away. So you shouldn’t notice. Any real difference in subcutaneous water levels, which is really, when we say bloating, that’s what we’re talking about, the water retention that makes us just look fatter.
Whereas water retention in the mussel, increased water retention in the muscles themselves just makes us look bigger, and so you shouldn’t notice any bloating. When you supplement with creatine. Now some people do experience some, but generally speaking it’s just not an issue anymore. That said, I should also mention that when it is an issue, it’s often with people who are loading, who are taking 15, 20 plus grams of creatine per day.
So if you are loading and you find that you are holding more water underneath your skin than normal, just don’t load. Just go to five grams per day. Alright, next question is, is creatine monohydrate bad for your kidneys? No, it’s not. Research shows that if you have healthy kidneys, you have nothing to fear from creatine.
And even if you have impaired kidney function, you are unlikely to experience any problems with creatine. In one study, for example, 20 grams of creatine per day. Caused no harm to someone who had a slightly damaged kidney. That said, if you do have any kidney issues, definitely check with your doctor before starting supplementation with creatine.
But keep in mind that if they aren’t familiar with creatine supplementation and how it affects creatinine levels, they may think. That something is wrong when it’s not. This is one of the reasons people still believe that creatine stresses the kidneys. You see, as I mentioned earlier, the body produces creatinine when it metabolizes creatine.
Now this would be a red flag in sedentary people who of course comprise most of your average doctor’s patients in sedentary people who are not supplementing with creatine, elevated creatinine levels can indicate. Kidney problems, but in exercising people, especially people who are training their muscles regularly and who are supplementing with creatine, research shows that high creatinine levels are to be expected.
It does not mean anything is wrong. Many active p people taking creatine. Don’t know this though. And then are alarmed by high creatine levels popping up on a blood test or are alarmed by their doctor being alarmed. So keep that in mind when working with your doctor and if he or she isn’t familiar with any of that, suggest they look into it because there is quite a bit of research on it and get back to you with their opinion.
Alright, next question. Should women take creatine monohydrate? And the answer is absolutely. Women want to accomplish the same basic goals as guys as far as their gym going goes. Women want to build some muscle. They want to get lean and they wanna stay that way. Creatine helps both genders equally. Many women shy away from creatine though because they don’t want to get.
Bulky and they’re afraid of the supposed bloating that comes with it. And as you probably know, weightlifting and weightlifting with creatine does not make a woman bulky. It simply adds muscle. And having too much body fat is really what makes a woman look bulky. And as I mentioned earlier, bloating is basically a non-issue these days.
Next question, should you take creatine when you wanna lose weight? And the answer here is yes. In fact, I think it’s one of the best supplements you can take when you are cutting, because research shows that creatine helps you preserve muscle and strength while in a calorie deficit. And of course, that is the key to improving body composition, and that’s really what we want to do.
We don’t wanna lose weight, we wanna lose fat and not muscle. And creatine helps us do. That next question, and this is a controversial one, does creatine cause baldness? The answer here is probably not. This concern appeared and then spread like wildfire. After a study conducted by scientists at Stellenbosch University found that male rugby players who were taking creatine saw a 40 to 60% increase in D H T levels after three weeks of creatine usage.
Now, D H T stands for dihydrotestosterone. And this is a hormone that is largely responsible for male pattern baldness. And so then if you are susceptible to hair loss, if you have that in your genes, raising D H T levels is a bad idea. It’s just gonna make it happen faster. And so when people quickly connected those dots, they started to worry that taking creatine would make them lose their hair faster.
Now this issue is not that simple though, because. Other research shows that it’s just very unlikely. For example, so far this is the only study that has associated creatine supplementation with an increase in D H T levels and random unrepeatable findings, uh, are not uncommon in scientific research. And this may be one of those cases.
Another problem is this study only lasted three weeks, and D H T levels started to decline significantly after the first week when the athletes took a much larger dose of creatine. So therefore, it’s possible that D H T levels would’ve dropped back to baseline after a few more weeks of usage. In other words, it may have had nothing to do with the creatine itself.
The researchers also didn’t explain what the athletes were eating or how much they were training or what they were doing in the gym, or how much they were sleeping, and those things are important because they can affect D H T levels. We also know that D HT levels can vary. Wildly throughout the day, and the researchers didn’t say whether or not they tested all the subjects at the same time throughout the study.
And lastly, it’s not uncommon for low quality supplements to be contaminated with impurities or even deliberately spiked with actual steroids to increase their effectiveness. And in this case, the study authors didn’t list. Which creatine supplement they used or who made it. And that last point is the most important one because shenanigans in the supplement industry are far more common and far more severe than many people realize.
For example, one study found that trace amounts of the anabolic steroid Boland ione in a creatine supplement were high enough. To make people fail a drug test. And anecdotally, for what it’s worth, I’ve worked with thousands of everyday people and have spoken with scores and scores of coaches and researchers, and I’ve never once heard anyone mention anything related to hair loss and creatine supplementation.
So in the final analysis, there’s very little reason to believe that creatine contributes to baldness. But the question is still out there because of that rugby study. And as a quick aside, I’m gonna be funding a study next year that will hopefully put this myth to rest. I’ll be talking more about that soon.
But I thought it would just be a very helpful study to get done and to get out there, because I know there are many guys who don’t supplement with creatine because they are concerned about maybe losing their hair or losing their hair faster. And then there are many other guys who are supplementing with it.
But are concerned that maybe it’s going to make them go bald sooner. So again, the study that I’m gonna be funding will be kicking off next year and it’ll take 12 to 18 months to get it all done. But it’ll be great once it’s done because it’s going to be well designed and it should give a pretty conclusive, definitive answer one way or the other.
Alright, next question. Last question. Does everyone benefit equally from creatine? Monohydrate. No research shows that a small portion of the population does not benefit from creatine supplementation, which is interesting, and the most likely explanation for it is because they just get enough from their diets already.
And it’s also possible that there are people out there who just don’t absorb creatine supplements. Very well, as well as the average person. Now, if you’re worried that you may be a non-responder because you haven’t noticed some big increase in your weights or some big improvement in your body composition, don’t give up just yet.
First, you have to remember that the benefits of creatine are relatively small in the scheme of things, and they are hard to notice in the short. Term. For example, with creatine, you might be able to get, let’s say, one or two more reps with a given weight or move a little bit more weight in your heavy sets, and that’s not very impressive in and of itself, but it definitely can add up to significant improvements over time.
Another thing to consider is that it’s possible that other lifestyle factors are masking the benefits of creatine. So for example, if you haven’t been getting enough sleep recently, then the negative effects of sleep loss are definitely gonna override any benefits that you might be experiencing from taking creatine.
And if you were to stop taking it, it would just be a little bit worse and you could look at the other way too. And you could say that creatinine may be mitigating at least some amount of the negative effects of inadequate sleep, at least in the gym, but, You simply don’t know. Another thing you should know is that it takes time for creatine to accumulate in your muscles.
So you should take it for at least four weeks before you pass a final judgment on it. And if you don’t wanna wait that long, like I mentioned earlier, you can load creatine to see benefits faster by taking 20 grams per day for the first five to seven days. That’s the normal protocol. And then you follow it up with just the maintenance dose of.
Five grams per day. And yet, one final thing you should know is that people who are closer to their genetic potential for muscle growth and strength do seem to benefit less from creatine supplementation. And that’s not surprising. I mean, it’s just because progress becomes so slow at that. Point that you probably won’t even be able to notice a significant difference with creatine because the needle just moves so slowly.
For example, let’s say with creatine, when it’s all said and done, you are gaining muscle 10% faster. Well, when you’re only gaining a couple pounds of muscle per year, you’re just not gonna be able to tell the difference, but it is helping. So in the final analysis, If you are sure that creatine has not helped your workout performance and you are getting enough sleep and you’re eating enough food, and you’re managing your stress well, and you’re following a well-designed workout program, and you are fully creatine loaded, you’ve been taking it for at least three or four weeks, and if there’s really nothing happening, then yes, you may be one of the few people who simply doesn’t benefit from it.
You can just drop it out. But if you’re not sure, you may want to keep it in because it is inexpensive and if you are responding and you are just not aware of it, then why give up the benefits? Alright, well that’s it for. This long and detailed discussion of creatine monohydrate. I hope you found it helpful.
And if you are wondering about specific products like which specific creatine monohydrate supplement you should buy, you can buy it in bulk if you want, but you can also find it in my. 100% natural post-workout supplement called Recharge, which not only contains five grams of creatine, monohydrate preserving, but also contains clinically effective doses of L-carnitine, L tartrate, as well as core salt like acid to help you gain muscle and strength faster and recover better from your workouts.
And if you want to check that out, just head over to legion athletics.com/recharge, or just go online and search for Legion Recharge. Hey, Mike here, and if you like what I’m doing on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives, please do consider picking up one of my bestselling health and fitness books, including Bigger, leaner, stronger for Men.
Thinner, leaner, stronger for Women. My Flexible Dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef and my 100% practical and hands-on blueprint for personal transformation inside and outside of the gym. The little blackbook of Workout Motivation. Now these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped.
Thousands of people build their best bodies ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores. Again, that’s bigger, leaner, stronger for men. Thinner, leaner, stronger for winning the shredded chef. And the little Black Book of Workout motivation.
Oh, and I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100% free when you sign up for an Audible account, which is the perfect way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting. Meal prepping and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. So if you want to take audible up on that offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobook for free, go to www.legionathletics.com/audible.
That’s l e g athletics slash A U D I B L e, and sign up for your account. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?
Because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search visibility and help more people find their way to me. And to the podcast and learn how to build their best body ever as well. And of course, if you wanna be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast in whatever app you’re using to listen and you will not miss out on any of the new stuff that I have coming.
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